Unicorn Companies: Can the UK rival the US?

25 June 2015

At the end of April we held a roundtable with some of the UK’s fastest-growing start-ups and our friends at Tech City News, to discuss what could be holding British companies back from global recognition.

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Unicorn companies are hitting the headlines regularly and are defined as those fast growing businesses that have achieved a $1bn valuation.

London continues to be hailed as Europe’s tech capital and with London Technology Week just coming to a close, that accolade looks set to remain. Europe has produced many ‘Unicorns’ of which the UK is responsible for an ever increasing number, however, we are still behind the US.

The round table covered some of the themes and views from within our Tech community.  My colleague, Carol Lee, a valuations partner here at PwC, identified a potential key difference between the US and UK which might be a factor here. “US entrepreneurs only care about growth and how much they can scale in a very short amount of time. They’re not worried about profit at all, which entrepreneurs in the UK do.”

Following a healthy discussion, Richard Gibson, CFO of SwiftKey concluded the session by highlighting that the US are preoccupied with valuations as opposed to profit and sustainable business models, favoured by their UK equivalents.  

“At the end of the day, it’s about maturity. You have to go through the learning curve to reach a sustainable model. It’s amazing, the naivety there is out there. Companies looking at the US just because valuations are higher? I’m not sure that’s right.”

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Also in attendance were decision makers from the likes of TransferWise, Import.io, Seedrs, YPlan, Hassle, PaymentSense and LivingSocial all power houses in the fast-growth space.

Thanks to all for their valuable contribution and insight and to read the full article in the latest print edition, subscribe now: http://techcitynews.com/subscribe/


Brian Henderson | Fast Growth Companies Leader
Profile | Email | +44 (0)207 804 9018


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